Getting a retirement community more involved with the “outside” community-at-large can be as simple as coordinating volunteering activities for residents, and according to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), there are plenty of 55+ people who want to get involved.
More than 300,000 people aged 55 and older are serving their communities through three Senior Corps programs (a division of the CNCS): Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, and RSVP.
“At a time of increased need and declining resources, volunteers age 55 and over are stepping in to fill the gaps,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Today, more than ever, communities need the talents and skills of all Americans to help move this nation forward. Senior Corps volunteers are delivering enormous social and economic benefits to our communities and demonstrating that service is good for the nation and those who serve.”
Not only do these programs promote helping others, but the volunteers are able to improve their own lives through an active, healthy lifestyle. Research indicates there are mental and physical health benefits associated with volunteering, including lower mortality rates, increased strength and energy, decreased rates of depression, and fewer physical limitations, according to the CNCS.
“As the leading edge of the boomer generation reaches the traditional retirement age of 65, nonprofits and communities should be poised to take advantage of this extraordinary wave of human capital that has the potential to transform our nation,” said Dr. Erwin Tan, Director of Senior Corps at the Corporation for National and Community Service. “America’s baby boomers are the largest, healthiest, best-educated generation in history, and they can leave an incredible legacy through service to others.”
Volunteerism is a way senior living community developer and management company Greystone Communities engages its residents and attracts a younger census, according to Brian Schiff, senior vice president of Planning and Financial Services at Greystone.
Some Greystone communities coordinate with anywhere from 50 to 70 local organizations, with volunteer coordinators finding volunteer activities with schools or organizations like the YMCA. “Seniors can become tutors for kids, and some of our people are involved and engaged in coaching youth sports,” Schiff said. “Our activities people now act as volunteer coordinators, not just in-house activities people.”
May is Older Americans Month, and Senior Corps Week was celebrated May 7–11. Click here to learn more about volunteer opportunities.
Written by Alyssa Gerace